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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 13, 2011 12:00am-1:00am EST

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so i want to give them a round of applause and tackle them for their support. [applause] today january 8 represents the 200th anniversary of the largest slave revolt in american history. yet if you've read the textbook, weather is louisiana history or american history, you won't find this revolt mentioned. in fact, the best collective popular amnesia about the 1811 revolt persist to this day. and so i'm very excited to be here in january 8, which is the 200th anniversary of when the baroque slaves of eight to 11 launch their revolution and try to conquer new orleans. you might be wondering why did the slaves picked january 8, 1811 which is today, 200 years ago today. there are three reasons the slaves chose january 8, 1811. let me describe to you a scene.
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1811, the planters gathered. they cut open a king cake. is january 6, 12th night or epiphany. after cutting opening the king cake they serve coffee and the dancing began. english dances and french danced and gambled at table spread out. you never saw anything more brilliant wrote a french colonial official. at 3:00 in the morning slaves would bring in gumbo and turtle, serve huge tables of 70 people each. after the initial party, many of the planters would go on to mixed-race bolts and other such celebrations. when william claiborne, the american governor took over control of the city, in 1804, the french planters informed him that the only way they could win their loyalty was to hold a party. i want to read you a description
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of what they served at that party. 196 bottles of madeira, a 144 bottles of champagne, 100 bottles of hermitage wine, 67 bottles of brandy, 81 bottles of porter, 258 bottles of a old and 11,360 spanish cigars. the morning after that party, it seemed like a pretty good time to revolt. [laughter] now the next reason the slaves chose january of 1811 is because in december and in the fall of 1810, william claiborne, the governor was raising a proxy war with spain over west florida. they just conquered with florida during a legal military filibuster and there was rumors in the air that the spanish were going to send a counterattack from cuba to retake that and roush. in december william claiborne
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ordered the two clans who were the most skilled and trained an effective military force the americans had in new orleans out of the city and up to baton rouge to protect it from this. the planters were drinking and celebrating carnival is we still celebrate carnival here today. the american military was distracted fighting the spanish and wes florida. and to top it all off on january 4, rainstorm blew in. by january 6, correspondents reported that the roads were a half a leg deep in mud. why was this rainstorm significant? for two reasons. the first is that rain meant that the slaves could not work. there was nothing to do on the plantation in the middle of the pouring rain and the second was that it was impossible to move artillery when the roads were covered in mud. the slave army armed with cutlasses, axes and muskets would be facing an american military the strongest fighting
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force or hundreds of miles away and who could not bring out the best weaponry from the city. it was the perfect time. i want to tell you a little bit about the leaders of the revolt. there were 11 separate leaders and i'm going to talk about for them. the first of a man named charles deslondes whose name i hope will be in every history textbook in the country in the next few months or years. charles deslondes was an interesting man to say the least. he was the son of a white planter and he served as a driver on a plantation. slave drivers were at the top of the hierarchy. beneath a master was the overseer and beneath the overseer was the driver in beneath the driver were the slaves. chiaro solons a -- deslondes's administrative punishment and held the keys to all of the doors on the plantation. when slaves escaped he would help chase them down. drivers like charles were often
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regarded as betrayers of their race and by the white planters they were regarded as close accomplices. they would convene with his master every morning to discuss when the sugar would be planted and how the work was going. but charles was doing something else with the liberties granted to him as a driver. on the weekend he would visit his wife a few plantations down and as he traveled he would meet up with two men in their native ashanti tung. quaku was over 6 feet tall which a time when average height was around 5 feet 4 inches was a looming figure. he was recently brought from africa in 1806. the ashanti had a warlike empire that spread over most of africa. they would meet with charles and they would discuss plans for what would become the largest
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revolt in american history. charles deslondes was the ultimate sleeper cell. using his privileged position not to aid the planters but to subvert them. on january 6 was the final meeting between these men charles deslondes, harry kenner who also was the son of a white planter and was born in virginia and then they met together on january 6. what did the slaves discuss? what were their motives? how do they organize? these are questions which no historian can answer definitively. the slaves did not write anything down. and they kept their actions completely secret from the planters. but let me tell you what the slaves would have known. what they would have been familiar with. i'm not sure how many of you know about the revolution that occurred in haiti in 17 night --
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81. today i think when we think of haiti we think of the devastating scenes we see on television. in 1811, haiti was a beacon of hope to all slaves across the american atlantic because haiti was the site of the first successful slave revolt in the history of the new world. not only was it a slave revolt. it was a political revolution. black haitians declared racism illegal and banned the french, who settled haiti or santo domingo just like they settled here in new orleans. i want to read to you from the haitian declaration of independence which i think and give you some sense of a political ideology that was flowing through the slave quarters. he proclaimed let us imitate those people who extending their concern into the future and dreading to leave an example of cowardice for prosperity,
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preferred to be exterminated rather than lose their place as one of the world's free people. they went on, do the french term for travel when they approach us if not by the memory of the cruelty they have inflicted, at least by the terrible resolutions that we are about to devote to death anyone born french who would dirty with this sacrilegious but the land of liberty. those are amazing words. how did the slaves here in louisiana know about haiti? an island 200 miles away? let me tell you a little bit more about slave life. the slaves, the people that transported the sugar from one place to another, the sailors, many of them were black. many of them were slaves. the people that served to sell the sugar in the marketplace were also slaves. messengers, carriage drivers, tradesmen, all of these people were black. many of them were slaves. and as they traveled around, as they traveled, these black
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sailors across the atlantic, these carriage drivers and messengers from addition to plantation they were not just hearing their masters words, they were carrying their own ideas about just how this world that developed in just what it was going to become. and so, what the planters knew, the slaves knew, because what the planters discussed in their fancy dinners at their lavish, who attended those walls who brought them their food and who sat silently as the ate them listen to the conversations? slaves permeated every part of the society and the slaves here on the louisiana coast were very aware of political development, very aware of republican ideology. copies of the french documents from the french revolution were found in the slave quarters and in the 1800's. in fact, a few years before 1811 revolt, the white colonial officials had expelled a french
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diplomat for spreading the word of the revolution in france. the slaves involve implanting had a complex political ideology. but i want to backtrack into what happened today, 200 years ago. i've talked about the rain. was pouring rain still on them morning of january 8 when charles deslondes grab -- editor group of 25 slaves on the plantation. every man assembled new that his participation in the revolt would mean a certain death sentence, near certain death sentence. no slave revolt in louisiana had before been successful in the punishment for arms insurrection was clear,. the planters distracted by mardi gras, the american military distracted by fighting a proxy war against the spanish, the rain preventing heavy artillery from being moved out into the german coast, the slaves believe
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they just might have a chance. no records survived to tell us what charles said as encouragement in the final hours before they launch the revolt but i want to read a passage from another revolt that happened only a year later a book of what that leader said his to his men in the final moments because i think he gives us a least an idea of what might have been said. this leader took a plan plantation and sharpened machete, stabs with a machete and says this is how we will drive to the stomachs of the whites. in the wake of the uprising planters only asked one slave why he decided to revolt. and he said, i want to go to the city and kill all the whites. and certainly, that violence in that debt that they preconditioned the black freedom there was no way for them to secure the independence to their emancipation without complete military controlled. otherwise, the white military, forces of the american planter militia would execute those legs.
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this was a system of slavery at its utmost basic level, system of violence, either kill or be killed. as the slaves made their final preparations they lay asleep in their bed. and quarters decorated with family portraits and furniture imported from france. even the darkness cast a formidable shadow. high roofs soared into the sky shielding apis in the gallery from the rain. i don't know how many of you have traveled to plantations among the river row river robe at their beautiful. men well was known even throughout the rest of the country. the french planters and borland's worth the wealthiest and richest planters in all of north america. john destrehan's said without chattel slavery cultivation must cease the improvements of the century be destroyed and the great river resume its empire over ruined fields in tomorrow's
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habitation. slaves built new orleans. slaves but the citations a mature and kos. slaves made the wealth that make more lands the famous city. the city would not have survived. they built the levees that prevented the river from taking over new orleans. john destrehan said that in 1806. and it is -- is truth remains resonant today. manuel woke with a fright this morning 200 years ago. to see charles deslondes come as trusted adviser, his right-hand man standing in his room with an ax. the plantation tool transmitted into an icon of violence insurrection. men well manuel andre knew what to do. he ran. as iran, the slave rebels cut three long slices into his body leaving scars that he would bear for the rest of his life and as he turned around he saw the slaves driving their axes into the body of his son gilbert andre. men well andre escaped from the
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slave rebels. i don't know how. and letting him go was the rebels first mistake. the slaves is something interesting after killing gilbert andre. they went to the militia depot on the andre plantation and they took out the militia uniforms and they put them on. these were slaves donning the garb of the military. they were described as baron -- they waved flags. this was a politically motivated revolt and when they put on those uniforms they were making a statement, we are not slaves. we are free men and we will fight to death for our freedom. it is said, according to oral folklore here in the german coast that the slaves had to chance they would shout as they
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proceeded. one was onto new orleans and the other was freedom or death. the slaves began to march toward new orleans. as i mentioned they were wearing military uniforms. they were flying flags beating drums and marching information. these men were organized and sophisticated and they knew what they were doing. now, almost a sin is the revolt began, the trails also started because the surest way to freedom in the slave society was not to participate in a revolt but the -- to betray one. françoise trepanier woke with a fright on the morning just a few hours after men well andre had been attacked. a slave named dominique told him that there was a large number of rebel slaves moving down the river pillaging the farms and killing whites. trepanier ordered dominique to travel to the other plantations to warn the other planters from there to new orleans to flee for their lives. he then ordered his wife and
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children to head to the swamps to hide in the swamps, which you been a refuge for many escaped slaves and maroons. but françoise trepanier did not leave his plantation that day. he believes that he could defeat and a ragtag band of slave rebels. he thought the slave army amounted to very little, that it was a mere group of criminals as they would later be described. >> arrogance and contempt for his slaves was well-known. it was ported that he had a slave named gustav holy treated like a dog, tossing him table scraps underneath the table. francois trepanier was quite confident that he stood at a good chance of success against the slave rebels. he did not have to wait long and what he saw must have been a very big surprise. around the bend of the of the ld became the slave army divided into companies each under a headman or officer. black men and militia uniforms advance towards a plantation chanting beating drums flying
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flags armed with muskets as many on horseback is on foot. the slaves quickly dispatched but françoise trepanier. it is said that gustav swung one of the axis. axes. he can see his grave out along the river road. françoise trepanier killed by slaves. in one example of a vast historical amnesia about this revolt many history books will claim that francois trepanier beat that the slave rebels. i want to zoom back into new orleans and what was happening here where we stand today read about this time. in the first warning came the western edges of the city scouts were the first to hear the news. within hours there is a traffic jam miles long of refugees fleeing from the german coast. the slaves have forced the complete evacuation of planters from the german coast. they were in control of about
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30 miles of coast from what is now the plot was the airport and all of the white winters were fleeing in terror. the accounts we received were very as reported one correspondent. fear and panic and it was not possible to estimate the force of the brigham's. the white residents of new orleans were terrified because they too had heard the stories of haiti not as it eakin of liberty or is a testament to political ideals, but rather as a warning about what would happen if they lost control. because the slave rebels of haiti had defeated 80%. they killed 80% of the army's napoleon bonaparte one of the great generals of europe had sent to fight in france, sent france to fight them. just think about that one more time. slave rebels bringing to their knees the armies of one of the great generals of europe. that was what they fear.
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they fear that they too would be brought to their knees and executed. now, you might be wondering what chance do the slave rebels have of success? how close did they really come to conquering new orleans? i want to take you back to the primary sources to give you an idea of what commodore john shah, then the admiral and control of new orleans thought. he wrote that the 68 regular troops in new orleans were a weak detachment. he went on to say all were on alert. general confusion and dismay prevailed throughout the city. scarcely a single person had a musket for the protection of himself and his property. the 68 regular troops a weak detachment, protecting a defenseless city of unarmed residents.
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bad against the slave army numbering between 20500 fighting for their freedom, marching towards the city. i don't know about you but i think the odds at that point were on the side of the slaves. now what happened next? the american military, the 68 troops marched into the cane fields boldly. they knew that the survival of new orleans depended upon the defeat of the slave army. and they came upon the slaves around 2:00 a.m. at a plantation. they could see light anthony the slaves were there. there was much evidence that the slaves were camped out on the plantation wrestling and eating. general wade hampton the american general, ordered a full-scale attack after extensive preparations. they realize that the slaves were all gone. it was a trick, classic ruse. the slaves would force the american military to wait hours. general wade hampton at this point was so tired his men were
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exhausted. they could not proceed any further. at this point it was 4:00 in the morning so they stopped to rest. not far from new orleans. this was a classic military technique familiar to any of you who know about warfare. you know better understand that you wear down the enemy until they are destroyed. that is what the haitian military did and that is what the rep also to 1811 were attending to do. they marched up river. i mentioned earlier that the slaves made a mistake. they let men well andre lived. men well andre crossed the river somehow and when he got to the other side he alerted the planters on that side of the river what was going on. these men gathered together a force armed to the teeth crossing over the river 40 or 50 men and they marched on the river. it was not long, sometime after sunrise on tomorrow, january 9, that they encountered the slave army.
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traveling at force marched short distance numbering 200 men as many mounted on feet. what did the slave army do next? espy in new orleans road would happen next. the blacks were not intimidated by the army and form themselves in a line. they do not blink in the face of the plantar militia. they formed themselves in the firing line which is exactly the right thing to do from a military perspective. what were the slaves thinking at this moment? again we will never know but i want to reach you at kohl from the slave that fought, slave from the sugar plantations of fun in the civil war for his own freedom. he said, we are now fighting and asked no more descent to die for freedom. but for a race to go back into bondage again, to be hunted eye dogs in the swamps and the cane brakes to be set upon a block and soul for gold and silver, no never, gladly would die first.
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and to the slaves took their place in the firing line. we don't know exactly how the battle unfolded. the battlefield was quickly engulfed the smoke and chaos. descriptions of the revolt are pure chaos. but what happened next, either the slaves ran out of ammunition or they discharge their weapons to send. the plantar militia broke the slave line. what followed was a massacre and one of the darkest moments in american history. whether they killed the insurgent slaves immediately upon encountering them, after slow torture or following a court trial, the planters perform performed the same spectacular violent ritual. obsessively, collectively, they chopped off the slaves heads and they put those heads on display.
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one plantar recalls the spectacle. they were run here for the sake of their heads he wrote which decorate r. levy all the way up the coast. they look like roe sitting road sitting on long poles. from the plantations to the city center government officials and officers reenacted the same right of violence. rituals they understood intuitively oppose coherency and through coherency control. the planters had several trials. one of the destrehan plantation another several of the center of the city in new orleans. these trials were not meant to determine guilt or innocence but rather to assert that the planters and the american military were in control and that the actions they have taken they have taken were righteous and legal and that the slaves were criminals who had violated their laws and thus deserve to die. i want to read you from the
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court transcript is that these rebels testified against one of the other such is rebellion assassination or pillaging etc. etc. etc.. planters didn't feel the desire to list all of the crimes. for them it was just etc.. these were criminals. their actions were not worthy of extensive description. up but beneath this façade of simplicity lay much more complex story. the slaves who testified in those courts describe 11 separate leaders. these leaders came from louisiana from the congo from virginia from the ashanti kingdom. some were born to white fathers. their nature french german spanish west african and anglo-american. the politics of the slave quarters was complex in atlanta. there is no single leader to define the insurgents or their agenda. rather the slaves counted in the ranks men from such revolutionary chavez is congo haiti and the louisiana moran colonies in the swamps. but amidst this chaos and
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complexity the planters deemed only to assign descriptor guilty the german coast uprising had raised serious questions and they new orleans territory but the strength of american power, the expanse of the spanish threat, the possibility of the haitian side of revolution on american soil and about the character of america's newly acquired french citizen. the planters realized the urgency of these questions and answer them with 100 dismembered corpses and a set of show trials intended to speak to the local slave population. in letters and letters and newspaper accounts, william claiborne the governor of the new orleans territory in the planters appraising out of history. they describe the slaves of reg am, the revolt that was quickly suppressed in wade hampton's fist and of the story was he who suppressed the rebel army even though he had been wrestling in a plantation a few miles away when they encountered the plantar militia.
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200 years later on the bicentennial of this revolt, we must look back on this story. for despite its absence from the textbooks, the story of the 1811 uprising is one central to the history of this country. this is not just a story about black history. or louisiana history. this is a story about american history. and charles deslondes deserver deserve a place in our historical pantheon along with better-known figures who we know it today. these men saw violence as a means to an end they never realized but that they did not achieve those goals has that have has not been that the sum total of the story was one of urgency scalise press. rather 200 years later we must reckon with the world the slaves made here in new orleans. and with the humanity, bravery and heroism of the men who
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fought and died for their liberty. only for understanding their stories can we come to understand the chair history of the city, of louisiana and the self and with it the nation. thank you. [applause] i'm happy to answer any questions as best i can. if you could come up to the microphone over here, that would be great. >> thank you for that excellent, excellent rendition. my name is t. ghana edmonds. i'm west west african, nigerian, and my question is what was it that piqued your interest in writing this book? >> absolutely. i started out in high school and
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when i got to college i started studying american history and a came upon mention of the revolt. what happened in new orleans and a large player in american history and three there was nothing on about it. as a young men and as a journalist that raised my hackles and i said i want to figure out what happened. and so i started doing a little research and the first thing i read were of some of the planters in and my first question was did this revolt even happen? it sounds trivial. but as i dug further, i realized that those accounts were very biased and i wanted to write a counternarrative that would tell the truth about what had happened and as i started to dig further and realize that this was a story ultimately about the heroism of the men that resisted slavery, story of bravery, story of courage and men who are willing to fight and die for certain ideals and as a 23-year-old guy that is just a story that is easy to fall in love with. >> thank you.
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let me make two comments. the first one is, i am by efrain. efrain. imd boo, biafran and i very much much -- and being vulnerable for something you think should not have happened that you are willing to die. and even as -- i served in the army. as you notice about the oil. is about the oil in nigeria, being outside and the other side not getting it so i can kind of of -- that is a kindred spirit when you feel like you are so -- you are willing to say i'm going to die for this. ..
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even though we can't speak the language, so people in some form or the other whether it is hard or whether they are willing to or what they know and this sense of spirit goes beyond race and everything whether financial states like martin luther king
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said loveless is injustice it is actually all of us suffering injustice and again i want to thank you for that. >> thank you for sharing that great admiration. henry louis gates is one of my professors that said to me we were talking about my interest in slavery and he said, you know, it's not that there's a question about people writing about history or black people get to the the history of america and he said that's not what it's about. these are shared stories with their white or black it's important we share them and come to understand them so in this story even though i'm white i can think of know-how greater role model and these men were heroes and an inspiring story that i wanted to share. >> i'm curious about the impact of the people, the free people of color, this leaves a lot of them got a long while, the
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french, spanish, so what would the impact of the revolt of the people in the city? >> absolutely. so in the city there was a free black militia many of you may have known. after the revolt, the government of new orleans offered an accommodation for not participating in the revolt. within half participated had the sleeves gotten closer, i don't know. i sincerely doubt the militia would have fallen on the side of the white planters. as for the impact on the sleeves, the impact in the slave quarters, i think that history still survives today and i met earlier the rebels leaves who kept the story alive and you think of that story is a life now here on the german coast, how much more powerful the story must of been in 1820 or 1830 or in 1860's when this leaves here
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in new orleans fought and won their freedom even though the emancipation proclamation specifically excluded these parishes from in addition, so i think this story and the martyrdom of 1811 served as an inspiration as a powerful story that resonated throughout the quarters and in this immediate aftermath those 100 heads >> 40 miles outside served as a tremendous message. i can't imagine how this sort of fear, the feelings and emotions on both sides as people stood around nervously wondering what would happen. >> as you know, they actually cost with the confederacy. it is interesting about what the posture might have been at that point. but for those who identified with the white and the creels
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consider themselves different status i can't envision them going along with the sleeves at all. i'm just saying -- >> it's historical we can only expect. >> i missed your taught history at the library. and you indicated this is a story that has been pretty much buried in history, so it had to have been pretty difficult for you to uncover a lot of this, so what were some of the source material used, how did you come up with what you were able to find about the reels? >> the question is on my sources, and this was a lot of work and started first with, you know, gathering together every sort of description from the planters, letters, travelers accounts to describe what happened in their revolt. those were the first. but in the bulk of my work was with the planter ledgers and
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statement for financial accounts and the court testimony. now the ledgers are lifted. like he was brought over in 1806 for $800 served as a field hand. the court testimony is also along the lines of charles announced as and infamous as long and acts of the plantation owner. these lists go on for pages and they are full of data but it's all fragmentary. it's not any sort of a narrative form. so i put them into the exfil database is see a good cross reference what participated in the revolt, where they've come, what they've done, what work they did on the plantation. excuse me. the nine of the databases on to a planned maps and it's sitting at the library with crayons in this plantation colored greenup if there's five-to-10 i will colored or range etc.. so i built that and once i hit the list of sleeves and how they participated and all the cross
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reference database then i started to piece together the crooks so i knew from the descriptions and the military officials were uncertain events happened and we're usually the google maps you can figure of how long it would have taken to walk from one place to another and you can say if this happens and it was 50 miles from here and that happened at this time, so then i turned that back to fred pantry evidence but i figured out spatially to a chronological narrative the whole process sounds simple but it took about a year and then once i had done that, i leered on the travelers accounts and other secondary sources about slave lake was like etc., etc. in order to build a big picture of how the bus leaves would have felt or with the plantations would have looked like and smelled like and all those sorts of things so it was piecing together the complex mosaic of the fragmentary evidence.
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>> daniel, i am amazed at the tactical knowledge of the slave revolt had and i am curious how you surmise they came up with this knowledge or the tactics to lead this especially the organizational capabilities. the cost was about the organizational. he was a slave driver. they were very aware of organizing large and complex groups of people. sugar planting is a very difficult thing to do. it requires immense technical skill and involves a lot of sophistication. the process is realized and sugar is one of the more industrial prophecies of billable time and so a man like charles who has a to sophistication to run a plantation and was very good at organizing large groups of people so that the question becomes if we know these men were good leaders, the organizers and execute various large-scale movements and
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activities they develop a military perspective, how do they learn military tactics. there's been an excellent body of scholarship on the influence of the west african military tactics on the sleeves. 70% of the slaves in new orleans had been brought over from africa either directly or from the transshipment points like jamaica or charleston, and many of those had been captured so they were very familiar especially in the traditions of warfare and those were present in haiti and in louisiana. and finally, i think as i mentioned earlier, they were everywhere watching what the planters did and how they behaved, and i find it hard to believe they wouldn't have learned and understood from the discipline and movements of the militia military how those groups fought and i spend time reading things like the old
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infantry manuals to figure out how military tactics work time and with 6 cents and how one fought a war wouldn't get in that sort and just how correct the movements were and it is fascinating to me to come to the realization of how sophisticated the sleeves were. >> most of the plantations being -- when you compare the cultural issues with the sleeves and plantation owners, did you see a difference between this region versus the more anclote plantation owners in other parts of the country in relation to nat turner and the other her ebullience? >> the cost was about the regional differences. louisiana, the slavery here was different from the rest of the country and this was a sugar
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territory. they were not growing cotton or tobacco. among the american slaves this was the most brutal place in the american continents. this sugar plantation someone knew was roughly seven years and sugar planting required 16 hour days of labor. the as one french planter how can we harvest sugar if we only work 16 hours a day. that is how the process of the sugar planting winter and so just briefly to describe how they maintain order in the plantation was three primary modes of punishment to the take sticks and plant them in the ground one end of one stick and the other to the third and then they would beat this leads to an inch of death and the of the torture devices including a --
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to prevent this leaves from eating and they couldn't sleep, and then finally they would decapitate anyone the fear was involved in the activity so slavery whether french or american was incredibly brutal. part of the laws because the nature of sugar growing and the immense fortune to be made in the demand of sugar and part of that was because of the brutality necessary to maintain the complicity so i think it's interesting. i then asked this question several times and i don't know if any of you were thinking it, but i would like to go into it because it is one of the more interesting questions which was why if the planters owned the sleeves and they were responsible for producing the gulf would they will end or kills leaves? why wouldn't they want to keep them healthy? they wouldn't want to tell them, they would want to treat them well. it is a common misperception. now the slave owners in the ideal world would want to treat
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their sleeves well and keep them healthy. but the slaves were not very thrilled and the level of violence that the planters were forced to use was necessary to keep them from resulting and working. there is no way to treat this leave free will and keep them healthy and have them work on a sugar plantation as slaves in order to force them to require tremendous brutality of violence and the essence of slavery and its most basic level is the fight to the def eventually who will win the planter or the sleeve and that is nowhere more brought to relief than this revolt. does that answer the question? okay. >> i would like to know are you planning on writing any other books about louisiana and new
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orleans history, one that comes to mind that you might be interested in was there some of the largest 1887 of the sugar strike of the workers. it's another story that doesn't get much play in history books and the particular topic seems to be perfect as a second part of a trilogy about louisiana new orleans metro area history. are you aware? >> definitely aware and i've read about it and it is remarkable, and i think some of that is to the testimony to how long the racial violence persisted in this country. you think about what happens during the reconstruction of louisiana, the violent struggles continue, and one of my favorite professors told me in 1865 when
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this leaves emerge, what do they do? the organized political organizations and get elected to congress and run for the senate. there's a massive political organization. those political organizations were coming you know, predated in the emancipation, and there is a tremendous level of political organization, political debate within the slave holders and that political debate you see reflected again in the reconstruction and when you look at the level of the violence within the sugar planters even after the war they were willing to use economic goals that's stunning. thank you. >> a couple of questions. you answered quite articulately before about the process of research. but where did you come by the ledgers and the primary sources?
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>> the hour thanks to genealogists available in published form and harvard has a wonderful library and the genealogical ledgers were actually in the library of harvard which was wonderful. >> the second question i have is about the writing process itself if you could talk a little about that, and in terms of since i haven't yet read the book whether this would be appropriate for the high school population. >> absolutely. my thesis which is with the book emerge from is academic and full of fury and i like to think about the google maps version of secure is the overview of what happened, and then when i wrote this book all these sort of like analogies are the way i think about and it's funny how much this technology impacts things, so i try to write this book as much as possible if it wasn't to write the try economic path but as much as possible because my book isn't to change the way we
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think about this leader and to make sure this revolt and the leaders are recognized in every history textbook and every elementary school class. without talking about the largest in history and so i hope that a year from now this won't be the untold story, and i hope that there will be three or five or six more books about this. so the book is written in the narrative style which i hope will be engaging. it's hard for me to just put my the can't tell you that it's well written but it's a total page turner and if you start reading it tonight you probably won't stop until the morning when you finished. as to whether it is appropriate for high school students i think absolutely and i think the sooner people start to read and consider and deal with the truth
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of the past the better able they will be able to understand it and make sure we don't make the same mistakes again. i spoke to eighth graders yesterday who were incredibly engaged and ask wonderful questions, and i don't think that the story is one that should be kept from children. in fact i think as a young man when i was young girl with a fluffed to hear the story which i think too often when you think about the slavery and when it's taught in schools we are taught to think about them as victims and as guilty depressing and when we look back we feel shame and rightfully so. but there are also amendments of heroism and i think the more that we can recognize the tremendous bravery of the men that resisted slavery the more we can celebrate that path into the more we can look upon these people last having the same ideals we struggle for with freedom and liberty and the more
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that we can see that as our story to relate to that as part of our story rather than reading the narrative that only talks about what happened in washington, d.c., who thomas jefferson was talking with and sleeping with and the more we can move on to the thinking about people here working on the slaves plantations and what they contribute i think the better our understanding of american history will be. >> just trying to enforce the rules. obviously there was a french revolution. the liberty, fraternity, had a day -- when was slavery abolished in france and leader in britain and later in the south america.
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the north american slaveholders, the second thing was this interesting thing you hinted at under eight brutalized blacks leave culture and coexisting obvious view and knowledge were freed men of color who were armed and obviously identified with white slave owners. were other examples of black moses from the privileged class to leave the results were enfranchised their brutalized compatriots. >> did the survivor never revealed what might have
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motivated his trusted slave driver to turn against him on the interesting speculation of probably great model of what motivated. >> to answer your first question the haitian revolution and the not guilty of the black hubbell had a tremendous revolution the blacks who played a major role. by about 1808 or ten by the time the revolution is occurring britain had become the number one and owsley doherty in player in the world. they would search ships to prevent the grimsley treaty because they no longer had the slave colony. there was no slavery in france, it had lost its colonies in america was not isolated because
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there were huge slave plantations and complexes in jamaica and brazil which totally door for what was going on up here. new orleans is a apr pro free. the fascinating question of new orleans who occupied a privileged position of society on the question of whether they would have sided with the whites or sleeves, and i don't know and honestly i haven't spent enough time studying the question to give it the best possible the answers i think i will refer to other experts and then the third question about the owners with r. dee reflected and why they trusted the slaves, and the fascinating reality showed little introspection. nat turner has the re-examination of 30 should continue in virginia. of course it isn't particularly
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profitable so it wouldn't be a loss to the economy. here new orleans is nothing without slavery. sugar planting is the basis of the society and so there is no similar soul-searching among the population at least as far as i can tell. there is an effort to write the history. it's a wonderful asian philosopher who writes questions could planter's even conceive of what had happened? do they even understand or did they really believe that they were just crazed criminals. they didn't understand the humanity and couldn't let them see it because the action, the idea of the politically engaged active, heroic black men standing up for their freedom willing to die for it undermines the very ideology that forms the basis. swift and the minute the plants start to try to think about the
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politics to plea to the humanity of the slaves it is a no vote topic area for them because if they start to think about that, then the entire ideologies that forms the basis of their livelihoods fall apart. how did they think about slaves? the cost about the same as an expensive car today. the difference between the slaves who is it the average lifetime is seven or eight years from africa, the price of that sleeve in four years investment if you could double your money if you were a good sugar planter with about eight years. it was tremendously, a tremendously profitable, and i think this part in the face of all of that money and in the face of all that history i figure was hard for the planters to realize or understand what was going on in the quarter soared indeed to deal with some of the questions that this raised. did i answer all your questions or was their something else? okay.
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>> the major part of your book is about the an nisha of the defense and the broad issue of history. one thing interesting for me is right after hurricane katrina residents of this neighborhood and a region that didn't flood, one of the first things you heard on the media was that in contrast to what happened at the superdome of all of their bases in new orleans they got along well and you heard over and over again this never racial and it brought to mind the question of, you know, is it a cultural thing or in the broader context of history have you looked at how certain even this has become part of the culture even if there is the relationship versus one where it is just pushed aside? >> i talked about the book silencing the past, the fascinating exploration of this topic and he comes up with of
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the theory that there are three ways and event becomes silenced. the first is when an illiterate population doesn't write down what they did or white. and so because of the slaves didn't regard their thoughts and in some sense there will be forever lost on most to go through efforts to reclaim or try to figure of what they were thinking or saying. the second is a process of the moment archives the archives were created when someone decides the documents are worthy of protecting and these documents are not for the planters decided those diaries should have been kept in an archive on the plantation or put in the bank or preserve to the courthouse. probably not. and in suffered moment is when we return to those archives and the stories we are going to bite. and so i think that oftentimes people write stories for very political purposes and certainly for the past 200 years those political purposes did not
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exclude this revolt i think it doesn't really resonate with our image of what it is to be american. i think people have trouble dealing with that or conceding of how we should write about that or why would be an important moment in our history. and so i think or at least i hope now my generation which grew up after the civil rights movement in the age where we have a black president i think look at things differently, or at least i hope we do and sort of with a fresh eye, and i think that, you know, i certainly hope that that will be true and we will start to uncover and learn about many more moments that have gone on told. >> if there are no further questions i want to thank dannel for the enlightened presentation. thank you for a much. [applause]
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>> to find more about daniel rossin and his book, visit his website, danrasmussen.net.
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rosemary neidel-greenlee, former member of the u.s. navy nurse corps presented history of american women in the armed forces. she talks about the efforts made by the women to fully certain the u.s. military goinga

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